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New Left Review 111, May-June 2018


marco d’eramo

RISE AND FALL OF THE DAILY PAPER

Who knows whether posterity will not look at old photographs of today’s newsstands the way we look at images of ancient libraries, Alexandria or Baghdad— stacks of daily papers seeming every bit as peculiar as shelves full of papyrus scrolls? [1] Originally published in Italian as ‘Invenzione, Ascesa e Declino del Giornale’ in MicroMega, no. 3, 2018, and translated here with kind permission. Everything suggests that the age of information, circulating daily via printed paper, will last no more than three centuries, before being filed away as one among the many means by which humans have gathered and exchanged news and understanding. The daily newspaper was the invention, instrument and symbol of modern times: the banner of the rising bourgeoisie and the mould of ‘public opinion’. Today, the signs of its decline are everywhere, and first of all in the progressive disappearance of its point of sale, the newsstand.

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